“Will you cuddle me to sleep, mummy?” a little voice asks me every night when I just feel like finally having some me time.
I am spent. I have been mothering all day and I am tired. But I always reply with, “Yes, I will my love.”
And this is why.
This is a sweet pocket of time
I know that my boys aged five and three will not want my closeness forever. They are breaking away from me all the time and this is natural and right, but for now, they want/need me to help them fall to sleep. I don’t know why they struggle to transition to the land of nod without feeling my body next to them, but they do. And so, for now, I will keep on helping them, because they won’t always need me to.
So what if we have ‘bad’ sleep habits
I read once that a habit is only bad if it’s not OK with you, otherwise, it’s just a habit. I know that other parents who have what’s deemed ‘good sleep habits’ (i.e. independent sleepers who don’t need assistance to get to sleep and never bed hop) will disagree with me, but soothing my little loves off to sleep is what feels natural to me as a mother. Nothing makes me feel more like their mum than when I softly sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star as their eyes close and they gently drift off. It’s nice.
So yes, we have a bedtime cuddle habit, but is it really a bad one?
My nights are not mine, but they will be again
I know that by cuddling my boys off to sleep every night (their dad often joins us and we all lie in their shared room together) and this sometimes takes far longer than I would like, that my nights are not my own. That sacred adult time when my partner and I actually get to talk, when both boys are finally silent with sleep, is often sabotaged as one of us inevitably falls asleep next to a warm little body.
But here’s the thing! I know we WILL get our us time back in future. There will come a time when they no longer need/want us at night. I mean, they sure as hell won’t want me to cuddle them to sleep when they are 16! This stage of them wanting us and needing us in so many little and big ways will not last long.
Thankfully my partner and I are on the same page with the sleep thing, so there is no issue there in our relationship.
I love the intimacy
When I cuddle their warm little bodies into mine – big spoon and little – I feel so close. I breathe them in and whisper, “I love you”. When they say it back to me, their little hands stroking my face, I know they have learnt how to be affectionate and loving.
It is often during this special moment, too, that I find out how one of them is truly feeling. That someone was cruel to them at childcare or that they missed me when I had to work that day. Lying still together, I find, is a lovely time to connect, reassure and show love.
So right now I am choosing to block out all the parenting noise that tells me we have bad sleep habits in our household.
We just have a habit, and I love it as much as I am exhausted by it. Nothing lasts forever.
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